Friday, 31 December 2010

Happy New Year

Wishing you all the best for 2011. I hope that your dreams come true...whatever they are.

I am looking forward to 2011 unlike some of the previous years. I am confident that there will be a change in our lives in this year. I hope and pray that it involves boy-o. There is much to do; and much to think about in the next few weeks. I hope you continue to journey along with me.

Friday, 24 December 2010

Merry Christmas

I wish all those who are celebrating on Saturday a very Merry Christmas, may the day bring what you desire. For those who aren't celebrating... I wish you a very happy and peaceful Saturday.

and whilst I wish I could insert a video - I can't, so I'm going to give you a link to my song of the season.... and whilst it isn't neccessarily a Christmas song, it comes off the end of a Christmas album, and I love it and the message that it contains....

Annie Lennox - Universal Child


Friday, 10 December 2010

Can't stop smiling....

Sorry Emily! I couldn't update until today....

After the visit on Wed, we were promised a phone call yesterday.... spent the whole day on tenderhooks and heard nothing. However today, just before lunch (whilst the student teacher was teaching my lesson) I happened to check my emails - to discover an email!

Boy-o's social worker is happy to go with us. Matching panal is booked for Feb - we will meet him at the end of Feb. Got some meetings to do over the next couple of months... Medical Advisor, foster parents, his mum's social worker. But we can't stop smiling.

Boy-o's name is a lovely old fashioned name; one that I really like. It's in fact my brother's name. Which is why I shall continue to call him boy-o.... my brother grow up with 2 sisters and 4 female cousins - no other boys. My Grandad always called him boy-o... and it's something that we all picked up. It's a long time since I thought of it, but it seemed right to give our little boy a nickname (for the blog) that really meant something to me. You have to think of it being said with a real Yorkshire accent.

More information to follow.... of that have no doubt!

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Ssssh, don't tell...

Because we had a voucher to spend, we've brought a present for a child.... we hope it will be a second birthday present.

Because ours and boy-o's social workers are visiting this week, we've been out and brought some safety things today; cupboard locks etc.

Because I had to buy some birthday presents for my friends children, we went to a toy shop today, and fell in love with a teddy bear. It's sitting upstairs in our empty bedroom.

I hope, hope, hope so much that this week we will have our meeting and boy-o's social worker will like us and think that we will be a good family for boy-o.

Oh.... and we sent some questions to our social worker to pass on to his. We were worried about this, but our social worker replied to my email with a lovely response, 'Excellent questions, very well thought through. I have forwarded them on to boy-o's social worker.'

Let it be wednesday quickly.... please.

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Things I have learnt...

Social workers work at their own pace; and even when you think you are getting somewhere, it's never as fast as you would like.

That 7 years of infertility teaching you patience isn't enough... you can never be patient enough. I thought I'd learnt this, but apparently not.

Switching social workers just after panel means that you second guess yourself. Is it alright to call, to email. With our old social worker I would have done it with no concerns, no second guessing - but now... 'am I being too pushy'

That things that you hear that sound awful when you first hear them; can seem liveable with, with you've lived with them for a while.

That life carries on around you, no matter what.

That my DH was as happy as I was to hear from our social worker today, to arrange an appointment to meet boy-o's social worker next week.

That I love that man so much for all the comfort he's given me. That he lets me talk, and talk, and talk even when he doesn't want to. Because in this instant, he's the only one I could talk about boy-o to.

Thursday, 28 October 2010

meal with other prospective adopters (mk2)

We've just got back from our second meal with the other prospective adopters from our preparation course. We had a lovely time, because these are other people that are going through the same things as us.

The next three panels have significance for the others we've been with. Just married couple are up for approval panel 2 weeks on monday. Racing ahead couple are going to matching panel 4 weeks on monday. Singleton is going to approval panel 6 weeks on monday.

We've seen photos of racing ahead couples baby boy. He's very cute and adorable. Very excited for them. We've been discussing all the things that they need to do, and what they need to buy.

It did remind me of all the conversations that M and I have had in the past 24hours, when we've suddenly realised that we might have a child placed in the new year. We've lots we need to do, some we ought to do, and some things we'd like to do. It seems a little overwhelming at the moment.

Monday, 18 October 2010


We got a yes... how exciting - although actually it feels like a bit of anti - climax!

We got there at the time we had been told, expecting to be told that they were running late... which they weren't.

We went into a meeting room and spoke with our SWs (both old and new) and discussed the questions that we the panel had put together for us. There was nothing unexpected it was as SW told us it would be.

After 15 mins, the vice-chair (chair of panel was absent) of panel came in and introduced herself to us, and asked us to go into the room where panel was sitting. The first thing that they did was introduced themselves; there was; Vice Chair, Adoption Agency Representative, two Minute Takers, an Adoptive Parent, Local City Councillor, Social Worker, Adoptee, Medical Advisor and one more person whose job I can't remember. Plus us and our two social workers.

The vice chair talked for a bit about what they perceived our strengths to be, and said that the report was a really good report. Then they got onto the scary bit... asking questions - 7 in total... the first two are standard questions.

1. Can you tell us about your experience of working with the Agency so far on your adoption assessment?

2. Can you tell us about the child or children that you can imagine in your family?

3. Can ME update panel about how she is doing with regards to her weight? (this was asked by medical advisor, who also explained that my medical condition (PCOS) made this harder than it was far some others)

4. What impact do Me and M feel placement of a child will impact upon their voluntary work?

5. Could M help panel understand his journey to adoption and what helped him to feel this would be OK?

6. Could M tell panel more about his particular interest in a boy?

7. What is the thinking about the age range of child M and Me are wishing to consider?

We were praised afterwards for being totally honest and our SWs were really pleased with how we had answered the questions. Old SW had a couple of comments to add after we'd given our answers, but they were impressed.

We went out and sat in the post-panel waiting room. We'd just about got ourselves sat down and chatting when the Vice-chair came in and said 'congratulations'. We talked a bit about how well they thought we'd considered the differing aspects of adoption and that the decision was unanimous. She left us to get ready for the next panel, and we spent a little time chatting to our SWs about next.

And next... next is waiting. New SW is coming next week to chat to us, and bringing us some mocked up profiles so that she can see what sort of child we are drawn to. We know that there will be no placement until after x-mas, but we might (if we are lucky) hear about a child sometime in the next couple of months.

Sunday, 17 October 2010

approval panel

Tomorrow is our big day... approval panel.
We have to wait until 2.45 to met our social worker, who should have some questions for us.
We go into panel at 3.00.

I keep trying to remind myself that if there was any doubt our social worker wouldn't have let us get to panel.

But my mind freezes and I worry...

It'll soon be here, won't it?

Friday, 6 August 2010

evening out

Yesterday evening M and I had a meal with some of the people that we met on the adoption preparation course. We had a lovely meal, and had good adoption discussions. A & P have just this week being approved; and we spent a lot of time talking about their panel, and what happened. We talked about how our home studies were going.

It seemed so odd, to be going and meeting people, that we had met in such odd circumstances. It is even funnier that M's dad knows the dad of one of them. However, it was a good thing to do, and we have all agreed to do it again sometime soon; and to keep doing it.

Monday, 2 August 2010


We had another joint session today; since she last visited us our social worker has visited two of our referees, and M's parents and spoken to M's sister on the phone. She has arranged to see my sister next week.

Today we spoke about what we found out when we visited the adopters, and what we thought about that. We then went onto what is possibly the worst thing so far, although we were expected it. We looked at some children's profiles and discussed what different terms meant. We started to think about what we could cope with.

She has left us with some more profiles to study, an old copy of Be my Parent and some information about children that she has worked for. Next week we will look in detail at the list of issues that we can deal with, or not, or deal with in a limited way - i.e. we would need more information about that issue before taking a decision about a child. It's a horrid thing to have to do - but we have to be realistic.

Sunday, 1 August 2010

Report finished!

65 pages of report written! Plus additional 4 pages on placement considerations and 3 pages on the dog! But it's done - at least until tomorrow when our social worker visits and needs some more work done!

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

adoption paperwork

Nearly managed ICLW (26 blogs visited and commented on) - but it's been difficult fitting it in with looking after our nieces, and trying to do more adoption paperwork. But the good news is... we've nearly finished the last piece of work that we were given... which is looking at placement considerations, what we think we can cope with in terms of a child we are going to adopt!

Monday, 26 July 2010

Adoptive parents

Argh - failing badly at ICLW at the moment... with good (or not) reason. I will catch up, later, but I will!

Last week we went to met some adoptive parents that our social worker put us in contact with. For those that are interested (by which I mean Caroline!) they live in the next city to us, but on our side of it! We had made the appointment a couple of weeks previously and had randomly being writing questions down ever since.

They have 2 children, adopted separately but who are full siblings. They initially adopted with our adoption agency, but the second adoption went through next city adoption agency. We share our social worker with them.

We started by talking about panel, and how much our agency wants people to succeed. They backed up what we had been told by our social worker, that we will be given the questions 15/20mins before going into Panel, and that we will sit and talk through them with our social worker.

We talked about their experiences of introductions, of the things that they have learnt. Including that we will not want to think or do anything else during introductions. That we should take notes - and lots of them, not just about routine, but also stories that we are told about the foster parents, so that we can share them with our child in future.

That to start with we need to focus just on the child, that for about 6 weeks, they introduced one new person a week and then only for short periods of time. This is necessary to help the child to bond to us, but also because the child will be grieving. Any adopted child (in the UK) has had at least 2 massive losses - they have lost their birth family and their foster family (and that's if they have only had one set of foster carers).

The trauma of those losses has a massive impact on adopted children. It effects with their behaviour and their capacity to deal with emotions. The trauma rewires their brain, and it cannot by itself right itself. However as adoptive parents there are things that we can do - THERAPEUTIC PARENTING - making sure that we have have contact, baby massage, stroking hair, maintaining eye contact, allowing them to regress as well as providing boundaries and routine. As adoptive parents we need to both nurture and claim our child.

We spoke about loving an adopted child - that it is natural for love not to occur immediately. That it took about 12months for them, both times. That they had an immediate commitment to the child, but it's not the same as love. However they did say 'fake it until you make it' works well in that situation.

They spoke about how they expected to adopt a child, but also got an extended family. Their elder daughter when she was adopted had 2 full siblings, and 4 half siblings. Her parents then went on to have another child - which this couple also adopted.

They advised once we know about a child - once we are preparing for matching panel to start thinking about what we are going to say (and practise it) about our child. That people will have all sorts of questions and make all sorts of comments, and that we need to prepare for them.

They backed up what we already knew, that for 6 weeks after introductions we would see a social worker weekly. That after that, we will see social workers monthly until we go to court for the official adoption. They said that there was no need to rush to get to that formal adoption state - whilst a child is officially 'looked after' there are lots of resources that are available. They also said that it's worthwhile viewing all offered help as support not interference.

Their key points that they wish they had known:
- the report on the child may not be up to date - and go with your gut
- stick to the foster carers routine for a few months
- the more time off work the better
- that there will be grieving, not just the child but us as parents as well
- that the BIG journey starts at placement

We also got to see the photobooks that they made for their families during introductions.

Friday, 16 July 2010


In no particular order - things I need to say:

Adoption approval panel - booked for 18th Oct, which everyone but us thinks is a long way away, but we were thinking Nov!

Got more paper work to fill in, what about this, what about that.

Got a spare bedroom, and a second spare bedroom! We have reorganised things, so that what was our study is now ready to become a child's bedroom. We sat in there earlier in the week planning.... it felt real.

Phone call from a long time friend last night. She was told yesterday morning that she is post-menopausal -not what you want to hear when you are 32. You also possibly don't want to hear 'well what about...' or 'well you never wanted to children' or many other 'helpful things'. I just sat on the phone and cried and swore with her, because there is nothing else to do or say.

In dog house with M... supposed to be going to his sister's tomorrow to build a wall around her patio. For a variety of reasons it would be easier for her if we don't take our dog. Her suggestion leave with M's elderly parents for the weekend, where she isn't allowed out in the back garden without being on a lead (it's not dog proofed). She won't get more than a 10min walk all weekend. We are going away next weekend, and have already asked them to look after her that weekend, because I am at home the week following. I can't leave her there 2 weekends in a row, it's not fair on her or his parents. He is refusing to argue with his sister - I've given two other alternatives, neither of which he is happy about, either I stay home with her, or we go only for the day, not the weekend. He is presently not talking to me!

I only have one more week at school for this year, in fact 4 1/2 days to go. Then a weekend in London, nieces for a week, and one week away, that leaves 3 weeks of me time! Hopefully it will be the last time!

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

300th post - home study stories again!

I realised yesterday that I hadn't updated after our social worker visit last week; it seems like a pretty poor 300th post - but I'll work on something better for my 303rd post...

When the social worker visited last Tuesday, we looked mostly at our support network (our Ecomap). We spent a lot of time talking about who would give us what support, emotional, physical, and care. We spent time talking about friends, who we would phone and wouldn't say 'well you wanted to adopt' but instead say helpful things. We talked about which friends we would be happy to meet with a child who may be disruptive. We talked a lot about who would bolster us up, and who wouldn't understand.

I talked about a few of my friends, but especially my friend R who I run Brownies with. I talked about her, because she attends lots of groups and activities where we live, and I know that when we are settled with an adopted child there is no way that she will let me hide. She will take me out places and introduce me to people. We talked about how difficult it can be with a toddler/pre-school child suddenly arriving, and not having the friendships that build up from baby groups.

We talked about therapeutic parenting. She told us that she is running a course on theraplay in September and she'll make sure that we'll get an invite for it. We talked again about our hopes and fears - it's telling that more of our fears are focused on the process now. She also had a look around our house.

This week it's individual visits, and referee visits. M has had his visit, as has our first referee - who described me as a stick of rock with 'mother' written all the way through. I think I'm grateful.

As to why no post until now...

Last week was spent preparing for the y11 prom on Friday evening. Me and one of my colleagues spent a long time blowing helium balloons up on Friday afternoon... but it was worth it to see all the pupils having such a great time.

Thursday, 24 June 2010

grumpy and moody

Sometimes it is hard to shake what you've lived through;

times when someone is moaning about their children
times when someone announces their pregnancy (on facebook no less)
times when I am forced to go back through our infertility journey
times when I am asked when I felt when I miscarried and how we coped
times when you are tired anyway and sleep will not come
times when you realise that you are changed completely from where you started

I'm looking for some positivity from somewhere, and it's hard to find this week. I've been horrid to work with, because I've been grumpy, and I can't shake it. I've been wondering around unable to settle to anything.

Here's hoping tomorrow will be a better day...

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Home study visit 5!

(If you want to read about what we've already covered in our home study click here, here, here and here).

Today's meeting went well, but it turned into the the one I was dreading. We started off with talents, interests and personality. We talked about our relationship, how we met (car crash!), how we got together, how we deal with stress, decision making etc. And then we turned to our route to adoption!

We spent a long while talking about infertility and how that has effected us and how we dealt with it. We talked about the fact that M is aware that sometimes i need him to listen to me rant not be a man and 'fix it'. We talked about what our options were, and why we decided against them. We spent time talking about the emotional impact of the IVF/ICSI cycles. We talked about miscarriage and what an awful time it was. Several things were mentioned and I was struggling with answering questions and the whole 7 years has turned my memory to mush.

I need to think a bit more about it before next week - which was when we were supposed to be having those conversations. I need to get my head back into it - go back through my journals and get some dates and events written down.

We finished with a little thought exercise - which I offer up for you to comment on...
'You've just been contacted by the partner of your cousin Emily, who you haven't seen for about 10years. She has disappeared and no-one knows where she is. She has left her little boy Joe (who's 2) in the care of her partner who is not his father. He wants to go abroad to work. There is no-one who can care for the child apart from you. What information would you want to know?'

So what answer would you have given?

Monday, 14 June 2010

home visit 4

I do like our social worker... even though she was late today! I like the fact that she seems genuinely interested in what we think and do - and yes I know that she gets paid for that, but still. I like the fact that she understands and even respects where we are coming from in terms of the age ranges that we are looking at. I really like the fact that she is honest about how hard it is going to be.

In today's visit we talked about our education, finishing off from last week. And then we talked about employment; what jobs we had, why we'd done different jobs. And we talked generally about the future, what we planned to do when a child/ren are placed with us, and how we would cope financially. We also started to talk about how we might cope emotionally.

And that's it - we talked for over 1 hr 30mins, but that is really all that we covered... because we started off we me asking questions, could she send a letter to school (employment check & reference) before July, whether we could move an appointment, and when she thought approval panel might be - end of Oct/beginning of Nov... which might seem like a long time off, but fits in with our 'approved to adopt' before Christmas plan.

Monday, 7 June 2010

home (visit) again!

We've just had our third homestudy visit... and I was debating putting some pictures up from last week's holiday but that can wait until later in the week. I have to some major catching up to do; no internet access for a week - leaves me debating just pressing the 'read all' button on my reader list!

In our home study visit today we finished off talking about my family, which took most of the 2 hours!!!! I got to talk about how my parents met, and what it was like growing up with them and my brother and sister. I got to talk about how my brother's issues effected life (ADHD and dyslexic). I got to talk about my relationship with my sister; and how that has effected me over the years. In fact I did a lot of talking....

I also spoke about my granparent's adopted daughter - I never met her, she moved Australia when my mum was 18, and never managed to visit. She died from cancer in her 50's. I had to write notes when I spoke to Mum about whys, dates, wheres etc, because to us she has always been one of those mythical people - someone that we know about; but I can't say I know her. I met her husband once, he came to the UK to visit when I was about 20. But it was interesting to hear mum talk about her, and to be able to fill in some of the gaps in my knowledge.

We also started talking about education - which will be picked up next week. M and I have very different stories when it comes to schooling. I went to lots of primary schools, a fee paying secondary school followed by a state secondary school. Michael went to 3 schools - a first, a middle and an upper school. All within walking distance of his home - in fact all within walking distance of our home - although the first and middle school are now primary schools!

Monday, 24 May 2010

2nd Home Study Visit

We had another meeting with our social worker this morning. I still think that she is nice and knows her job really well. We spent some time doing general chit-chat and then moved onto our family trees/history.

M started with his and looked at grandparents, aunts & uncles, cousins and children of. The idea is that as well as sharing your family tree that we share our memories of the people, and how important they were when growing up and how important they are now. This lets the social worker know about your family life and what things were like growing up for you.

We spoke about his parent's and his sister (and her family) and how they have reacted to the news of us wanting to adopt. We talked about his mum's nervousness about it, but SW seemed really understanding of the difficulties that you can have with potential grandparents. We talked about our nieces and how much we have to do with them.

M spent over an hour on his family tree and I just started mine. It was a short meeting today and SW had somewhere else to be. Therefore the next meeting will be more about my family history, but as we are away next week (hurrah for Scotland) it'll be two weeks before we see her again.

I need to think of a better name for our social worker SW just seems so impersonal!

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Isn't it odd, I can go for weeks without an adoption conversation, and then in the week that we start our home study, I can't get away from them.

I've had conversations with all sorts of people, from my friend last night who yet again said 'you will be a good mum, I can't wait for it to happen to you', this was after a long in depth discussion about what happened on Monday. I had a conversation with Head (of the school) about the home study, what the process is, and where we are, he thankfully approved my next 6 appointments for the homestudy with pay. I've had conversations with my Mum, about what is happening, and what she can do to help. I've had to talk through the process of the homestudy, so many times this week, I'm beginning to think that I could do it in my sleep.

But it is all positive. I feel positive. I am sure that we are doing the right thing. And there will be more waiting, but I can see a gorgeous beam of hope shining.

Monday, 17 May 2010

First Home Study Meeting

We've met our social worker... and she seems nice. She arrived early this morning, which I think is a positive sign, I'd hate to have been waiting around for her.

Started off with general chit - chat. We talked about the things that are involved in the home study, and had to dig out passports, driving licences, birth and marriage certificates to show her - luckily we could lay our hands on them straight away.

We talked about how we had found the prep group, and what else we'd like more information about. We talked about the reading that I've been doing and what she suggested a couple more books to look at, Primal Wound and Theraplay, both of which I've looked at, but the library doesn't have and they're not cheap! We discussed the birth mother and the adopted adult (not related) that we met on the prep course and how their stories had impacted us.

We talked about the child/ren that we would like to adopt. She seemed delighted that we didn't necessarily want a tiny baby and the fact that we had rationalised this out. Our argument is that we can't actually have a baby, adoption (from foster care) is different, and therefore we want to acknowledge the difference rather than hide it. We talked about birth families, and that there will always be a child shaped hole in the birth family, and a birth family shaped hole in the child/ren's lives.

We obviously covered lots more than this! General topics included attachment, adoption stories of people that we know (both adopted and adoptees). Stories about children I know through school - i.e. how parenting can have an impact. We talked about schools - she said that she is presently working with a family whose child is in reception and has been excluded from school before they are 5. It's a fantastic school - at least by ofsted measures. I said that I know that a good school might not know how to deal with 'difficult' children, citing where I work compared to the schools just up the road!

We talked for about 2 hours, but this did include about 30 mins trying to sort out the next 6 sessions! After that she will be meeting our families (those that it is possible to) and some of our referees. As she only works part time, she admitted it might take her longer than normal to write up our report for panel, but that we should be approved before Christmas. Then they would hope to match us up with a child/ren within the next year.

I'm relieved that the first meeting is over - and feel happy that we are making progress. She seemed happy that we talk and have talked about adoption issues, and are starting to think about how to parent an adopted child!

Monday, 26 April 2010

First Social Worker Visit

May 17th... that's only three weeks away. Woo!!!

Sunday, 25 April 2010

What If

The fantastic Mel (with Resolve) has another project up and running.
And this is my answer to a question; although I started out to answer another question...

What if I can never just be happy with what I have and stop being angry, bitter, and sad about what I do not?

I remember I once very angrily stating to a close friend that 'I am a failure'. I got such a look of horror and shock and a talk about how I am not a failure. And yet I am a failure at one of the core roles that society has given to women, I cannot get pregnant in anything approaching a normal manner, and when I got pregnant I miscarried. I am not a proper woman.

And even now, that is my core belief. And that's the thing with infertility, it changes those core beliefs about yourself. Once, in what seems like another lifetime, I was young, carefree, happy, married and excited about where life was going to take us. And that is gone; and I'm fearful that I might never be carefree, happy and excited about life again.

That core belief has the effect of making me bitter and sad. It's that core belief of failure, and not accepting that my way is going to be as good (although different) that causes me to cry when I see new babies, or hear that someone is pregnant. Even though we have our plan; I still get sad when I think about how easily what I want with every fibre of my being has come to other people.

I get angry, I get irrationally angry. And the angry comes and fades with no warning. That's not normal, but it's my new normal. I can't help what is, I just have to accept it. And that's scary, because what if I never achieve the peace that I find. That whilst I do have peace for a time, it comes and goes.

I can't believe, even at these moments of moving forwards, that I will ever be the same person again. That all the pain will somehow fade; and I can become that care free person again. And whilst there are parts of me now that are ugly and nasty, there are also some good things that have come from the pain.

What if this is a learning curve? What if I have learnt more empathy? What if because of this I am a better person?

If you want to know more
about infertility - visit resolve
about National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW)
the what if questions

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Adoption and God

I'm beginning to see the attracting of Wordpress - in that whole 'password protect post' kind of way... but I'm staying here for the moment, accepting that I'm not going to be able to write the post that I need to write at the moment.

In other news...

I spent a little time last night with one of my friends, she is always brutally honest and whenever I am with her, when it's just us, I still end up in tears (more often than not she joins me). We both accept that this is the way that things need to be, because it is healing. She started the conversation off with...

'that text was from A, she was were you are for a long time, but she came down on the lucky side of the fence. Actually she got the card 'you're going to be a mother' card that I brought. I kept thinking that I should have got 2 and then your luck might have changed.'

I responsed that it seems unlikely that my luck would have been any different whether or not she had brought two cards.

We then started talking about adoption, and got onto the whole God thing. How this is God's plan for me - in her view... and whilst I have a strong belief in God (and yes it has waivered), I am of the strong opinion that this isn't God's plan for me. How could a loving, caring God have a plan that means so much pain and hurt? I just accept now that 'this is what is', that whilst God is there, and he is a loving God, he has no control over what has happened, to my way of thinking the doctors at the hospital are better people to question over this.

She looked at me quizzically, and I explained the following to her:
that she'd said within the first 5 mins of the conversation that 'we are going to be amazing parents' and how if that was the case, is it that we still aren't parents? That what we have gone through cannot be God's plan, because how can a loving caring God, cause me (and so many others) to suffer through infertility, and whilst we might eventually be able to adopt a child, that isn't the outcome for everybody. How can this possibly be God's plan? 'this is what is'

She acknowledged what I said - but I know that I didn't explain myself enough to convince her. I know that (hopefully) at some point we will have our family. Is it what we dreamed of, no, because if it was why would we have put ourselves through so much. Is it the right thing for us now, yes. BUT that does not make it the right thing for everyone.

Friday, 2 April 2010

Building the bonds of attachment...

Gosh, it's been a nearly a month - no excuses other than business at work, I could talk about GCSE coursework, and A level practical exams but it would be boring. However, it's the Easter holidays now... two weeks off work!

I've just finished reading a fascinating book 'Building the Bonds of Attachment' (Dan Hughes). I'm not saying it's an easy read, but it looks at the problems that a neglected child (with attachment issues) might face when it comes to living in a foster or adoptive home.

The book starts by looking at Katie's life at home with her birth parents. The acts that show 'good enough parenting' and then eventually the 'not coping'. It then moves through 3 foster homes with experienced and less experienced parents. It talks about the normal therapy that she had. It talks through the eventual break down of foster home no. 3, due to her behaviour and need to control.

The book then talks about the fourth foster home and the new therapist that was found for Katie. It takes about how Katie's new foster mum parented her, so that she couldn't get into so much trouble. It talks about the stresses and strains. It discusses the type of therapy that actually helped, where Katie was allowed to play and become relaxed, but also made to face tough things in her place.

It showed the type of parenting that we might have to do. It was an amazing book. I have to return it to the library tomorrow, but I want to get my own copy. I get the feeling that re-reading the book at a later point will help me get more out of it.

Monday, 8 March 2010

getting rid of ideas...

I've just read a post at Mel's and it reflected so accurately my melancholy but from a different angle.

She talks about the heart ache of giving away her precious baby stuff that she has stored as her twins have outgrown it for when they add to their family. About how much giving those things away means accepting that for them that part of the journey is over (at least for now). It's about how we attach so much longing to these things, that others, the more fertile in the world, may never understand.

For me, I'm still going around the 'I'm never going to pregnant' roundabout. I will feel fine about it, and then suddenly there it is again. I have to accept that I will never get pregnant without medical treatment. That I can't put me, or M or our emotional well being through that cycle of destruction again. That I will never have a new born baby in my arms that belongs to us.

And it's not helped by the people who surround me. 'Well you can always try again', or 'perhaps you'll get pregnant once you've adopted' have been comments made by our families. I'm trying hard to educate people about adoption in the UK - we won't adopt a new born, if we were exceedingly lucky we could adopt a 6 month old, but more generally children are about 18months to 2 years when they are adopted (if not older).

Much as Mel has got to get rid of all the physical presence of what might never be, I have to get my head around the emotional presence. And I that I will get there, but will I ever get to the point where I will lose that longing for what might have been?

I sat at Brownies last week helping them make Mothering Sunday presents for their Mums. And one girl, said 'I feel sorry for Auntie G... because she never gets anything on Mother's day' and I had to smile and say, 'I know'. It's hard because not only at that moment did I feel my pain, but also Auntie G's (who by the way I know). I know that adoption will build our family - but will it repair the hurt that infertility has caused - because that's what I long for.

Tuesday, 23 February 2010


We had a meeting with a social worker this afternoon, following our prep course.

The comment that has been passed on M and myself is that we are quiet! I prefer to describe us as introverted thinkers... by which I mean that we will listen to hear a whole story rather than keep interrupting to ask pointless questions. If we have something to say, it'll be something relevant and if we have something to ask, it's because we've thought about it.

To be fair to the SW she did understand that not everyone is happy talking in groups. I feel it was particularly aimed at me, because I teach and therefore I am used to talking. I did explain that there is a difference between teaching and talking to fill silences. It's also difficult, because we will listen and then go home and talk about it.

We were told that we will probably be waiting until the end of April (at the earliest) to hear about our allocated social worker.

In the mean while - lots more researching to do... I want to find out more about the effects of alcohol and drugs pre-natally (is that even a word?). I want to do more research about the effects of neglect. I want to research more about the effects of abuse.

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

random thoughts

And as a break from adoption talk...

I love that I have a friend who texts me a message on the anniversary of having my miscarriage confirmed. She has done it every year for the past 3. She doesn't forget. And that is such an important thing, that my little beans aren't forgotten.

Most of my friends couldn't tell you what day my miscarriage was confirmed. I think that most of them know that it happened around this time - partially because I was due to have a scan on my 30th birthday. It's a grim awful reminder to me; I can't forget. I remember going into work and bumping into someone who knew that I should have been having a scan and they just looked at me and I burst into tears. It was hard because it was the first day back after a holiday, and I couldn't let anyone know.

I remember that my boss had gone out to celebrate the birth of her first daughter with some people from work. That she had let slip that I'd just had a treatment cycle, and she assumed it hadn't worked. Someone who knew said to her subtly that actually it had, I'd had a positive test. And it ended up with everyone there knowing that I was pregnant. Except I miscarried, and so that someone had to run around everyone who knew and tell them that I wasn't. And to this day I don't know who knew - and I know two people, who had the politeness to come up to me and tell me, but I don't know who else! At this late point it doesn't actually matter.

I am starting to let more people know about our adoption plans. Not lots, not everyone, because I can't bear to be asked how it is going. But the number of people who know is growing. I'm still processing a lot of information, so expect more adoption talk to happen shortly.

Monday, 15 February 2010

Part 5...

We've just got home from our last preparation course session - it was an evening session - so only 3 hours!

We had a talk from an adoptee. She is 23 now, and was totally honest with us. She said that her mum and dad are her mum and dad - she has met her birth mum, and her birth siblings, but the people who brought her up, are her parents.

She described the problems that she had at school with anger, and not being able to trust. She says she still finds it difficult to trust.

She contacted her birth mum when she was 18. She says that she was too young, but even if she'd been told to wait, she wouldn't have. She seems to have a lot of anger towards her birth mum - that she wasn't able to sort her life out in order to keep her. That even now her mum is lying about why she was taken into care. That she would have nothing to do with her birth mum apart from she wants a relationship with her siblings.

She says that her parents were fantastic. That there is nothing that she wishes they had done differently. That she always knew she was adopted, and that her parents were always totally honest with her (in an age appropriate way). That her parents were there for her, and supported her no matter what. In fact, that was her top tip: be honest and be there!

Hearing her story was really really interesting. She was absolutely positive about adoption - even though there were things that she has done wrong, it's not because of the adoption.

After she finished, we had a chance to run through the 'what next' steps. We have an appointment with a social worker next week, as a follow up to the course. We then sit and wait to be assigned a social worker for our home study.

Saturday, 13 February 2010

Prep course part 4

I was too tired yesterday to write anything... so I'll do it now, but it may not be as clear in my head as I would like it to me.

Our day started by looking at our support networks - we were given large pieces of paper, and asked to do a diagram of our support networks, including family and friends, but using the thickness of lines to signify the amount of support that would be given. It was an interesting start to the process, although it will need refining and sorting! We were warned that we won't get the support from some people that we think we will, and that others will be added to the mix.

We then had a talk from an adoptive parent. They adopted 2 girls, one aged 20 months and one aged 5 1/2 years. This happened 3 years ago. She talked about the different characters that her girls are, and how hard sometimes it is to judge what behaviours are happening due to adoption. She told us about the issues that they have had, and what problems they have encountered.

In the afternoon we talked about identify - and how important it is. We did two exercises linked to it, but one was a lot more effective than the other. We were asked for memories, from whenever, and whatever. One social worker wrote them all on the board, and whilst someone was speaking the other social worker, ripped them down, and ripped the paper and screwed it up. It was then impossible to smooth out. This was then related to the fact that adopted children will have memories, and that we won't be able to smooth them all out, but how important it is to stay in contact (no matter how little) with the birth family, so we can ask questions. Our memories are built with help of our families, saying 'do you remember when?' adopted children won't have that about their early life.

We also listened to a post adoption support worker, who told us about all the work that our agency do after adoption. Things like a stay and play group for adopted children and parents only. Things like offering phone support. Putting people in contact with CAHMS and other support.

We have finished our last full day - and we do feel generally positive about the experience. We have learnt a lot and have ideas of what else we need to think about, and research more. We have another evening next week, then a meeting with a social worker the week after! It's all moving forward!!!

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Prep Course - Part 3

Another full day today, and one full of emotional and negativity.

This morning we had a social worker speak to us about attachment, she is also an adoptive parent, and because of her difficulties she decided she needed to know more about the issue of attachment.

We started off looking at a wall of needs, and how if some of the top bricks are missing a person can cope, but if the needs of an infant are not met how it's impossible to build a proper wall. I think this link - adoption UK the Wall shows it really well.

We looked at the circle of need - how most children have a need, protest, the need is met and then they relax. We talked about how some children have a need, protest, nothing happens, so they protest more and eventually give up - or may have response given in anger. How this can result in a negative view of the world - I am not okay, adults are not okay and the world is not okay.

We discussed the effects of poor attachment, we talked about avoidant, ambivalent and disorganised children. We talked about what we as adoptive parents we can start to do about it to help children. We briefly touched on the need for children to possibly regress and about theraplay and other types of therapy. The importance of trying to get those early missing bricks in place.

This afternoon was about abuse. The different types, what that actually means (examples) and the effects of abuse. The long term effects.

We also had a visit from a foster carer. She talked about the children that she has fostered - both the good and bad. She described how as a family they become attached to foster children, but when she hears that a child has a 'forever family' she starts to detach. She talked about how she prepares a child for adoption. How she takes photo and photo and collects everything to pass on to a child's forever family. How excited she feels when she hears that a child has a new permanent home.

There was a lot to day with today. I have only touched on the issues. I need to think and reflect more. I also need to do more reading!

Friday, 5 February 2010

Preparation course (part 2)

A full day today, which was a little more over whelming, and I need some time to think and reflect! For the moment - what was talked about...

The Adoption Circle. We talked about how the birth parents, child and adoptive parents are interlinked. We talked about the losses and gains involved in adoption. We looked at those life-long losses for everybody involved. And the fact that there are few (if any) gains for the birth parents in adoption.

We had a chance to share our journey's to adoption with each other, without any social workers present. We broke into two small groups (male and female) and had about 30 mins talking. It was interesting to hear each other's stories - but I'm not going to share, because they are not my stories. Enough to say that no-one has come to adoption without some heartache and major decision making.

After a break we settled down to listen to one of the social workers tell us the story of a family that he was involved with for 10 years. He represented each person in the story with plastic figures - and there was a table full by the time he had finished.

The story was centred about 4 children, who were 6, 5, 3 and 1 when they were taken into care. There were concerns about the family for years before, but only when the youngest was born was it deemed necessary to move the children. The mum had been involved with 3 men, and no-one was particularly sure who had fathered which child. There were suspicions about abuse (both physical and sexual).

The children initially were moved to one foster family, but due to reasons they had to be moved on. At the point they were moved on it had been decided that the younger two could be freed for adoption, so they went to one foster family to be prepared for this. The older two were thought to be too affected by what had happened, so initially were moved together to one foster family, and then separated into two more families.

The younger two children were adopted by a couple with a large number of birth children. They have been supported and are now living independently, with no long term effects. They are a 'success story'.

The elder boy went into a family where education was highly regarded and he was doing really well at school and destined for university. But at 15 he was pushing to move back to his mum's who he had kept up direct contact with. He was allowed to move back, which lasted less than 6 months, he then moved in with a family friend. But his school attendance dropped off, and he left school with virtually no GCSE's.

The second boy was sent to one set of foster carers, then another. Eventually he ended up at a residential school because no one could cope with him. The adoptive parent's of the younger two heard of this and in the end adopted him at 17. Unfortunately he was damaged by what he had been through and isn't capable of living a 'normal' life functioning as an adult.

What was amazing was the number of people that were involved along the way. The social worker did admit that it was a complex case, but to see all those figures standing on the table brought home the people involved dramatically. It was such a powerful way of showing us the story. (there were obviously a lot more details!)

This afternoon we had a birth mother come and speak to us. She was amazing, her story was really emotionally, and she was honest and open.

We finished up the day by looking at letterbox contact letters. We broke into three groups and each group was assigned a person (birth parent, child, adoptive parent) and we had to think about what we would want to receive and what we would write. I was in the birth parent group - which was really hard, it was hard to think what to write, we knew what we wanted to hear, but what to actually write. I understand now how hard birth parents find the task!

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Adoption Preparation Course (Part 1)

Did it and survived! We spent 2 1/2 hours this evening at our adoption agency, starting our preparation course. And it wasn't as bad as I/we expected.

We turned up at 6.30 to be met by 3 social workers, usually it would only be 2 but one is attending for the experience as she is new to the agency. There are 9 of us on the course - 4 couples (including us) and 1 single women. The single women has a birth child as does one of the couples. I think the other 2 couples are like us - without any birth children. We have been told that we will have the opportunity to learn more about our paths to adoption on Friday.

When we started - following the usual speech about fire escapes, toilets, drinks, and general other stuff - we had to find out 4 facts about someone else, and introduce them to the group. I was paired up with GI - who bizarrely used to teach Maths at my school (he left just before I arrived) - he now works in one of our nearest neighbouring schools! We talked about teaching; our schools; where we live; his birth son. I was then able to introduce him to the rest of the group - although we did get side tracked from the job talking about teaching...

Once everyone had introduced someone else we watched a video about the process of adoption. It was a department of health video, which is about 8 years old. It showed a cross section of people, and they talked about their experience of the process. The preparation course, the home study (and their social workers), approval panel and then matching. I think the key thing I picked up from this - which was more reinforcement than anything else was the fact that your social worker gets to really know you, all the things that you don't normally talk about - you will have to discuss.

We talked as a group about our hopes and fears about adoption. It was reassuring that we all had similar fears - about the process, about the issues an adopted child might have, attachment to an adopted child, but equally similar hopes - to feel complete as a family and learn how to be a 'good enough' parent. M commented that he feels less isolated with worries now.

We discussed the importance of names; how different people got their names; why names mean so much; the fact that often a name is the only thing that an adopted child may get from their birth family and how our names make us individual.

We talked about why children need adopting... not going to repeat that list here at the moment!

We finished with a questionnaire - with lots of facts and figures. In some respects M and I knew enough - but there were things that I didn't know. Things like how many children waiting for adoption are part of sibling groups (55% in the UK).

It was a good evening. I think M and I are both reassured by the smallness of the group - we are both likely to sit back and listen in a large group of people - with only 9 people including us, there is no-where to hide, but also we will get to know these people quickly. I wouldn't go as far to say that I am looking forward to the full day that is happening on Friday - but I'm certainly not dreading it like I was this evening. Although Friday might be more difficult as we are going to meet and have a talk from a birth mother!

And we have some homework reading to do!!! M has already said he will take it to work to read at lunchtime!

Oh and as a final thought - no role plays; just discussion - hurrah!